George Clooney plays U.S. Democratic Party candidate Gov. Mike Morris in the political thriller The Ides of March.

Aisle Seat: Political thriller needs more spin

The Ides of March: Three stars out of 5. Jason Armstrong film review.

  • Oct. 16, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Politics can be a very dirty business.  And in a movie like The Ides of March, the dirtier, the better.

Directed by and starring George Clooney (even though he takes a backseat role in front of the camera, allowing Ryan Gosling to take the wheel of what should be yet another star-making vehicle), The Ides of March is a crackling gem as far as performances go: Clooney, Gosling and Paul Giamatti especially bring their A-game to March. But Clooney’s bare bones presentation –– while it is gritty –– probably hurts his project in the energy department. The film is a wee bit lethargic.

Clooney plays Democratic candidate Gov. Mike Morris, engaged in a presidential primary in the swing state of Ohio. Gosling is his press secretary, Stephen Meyers.

While he scoffs at one media member’s suggestion that he “drank the Kool-Aid,” it’s obvious that Meyers believes in his guy to a dangerous level. That, bolstered by his idealistic stances on the issues, Morris is somehow beyond corruption. Uh huh. Right.

Meyers’ mentor is Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Morris’ rumpled and exhausted campaign manager, a veteran in the sport of politics, which probably explains why he’s constantly second guessing everyone and everything. Enter Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the campaign manager of Morris’ rival, who invites Meyers to meet him in an out-of-the-way pub to “have a chat.”

It’s a no-no to fraternize with the enemy, but even more dangerous when secrets get spilled and your own side no longer trusts you.

To divulge any more in the synopsis would be revealing essential spoilers (hint: there’s an affair involved, but in a movie like this, ain’t there ALWAYS?), just know that The Ides of March has more than enough juice to keep you hanging.

Clooney, certainly no rookie at the helm (this is the fifth feature film he’s directed), knows how to build suspense. It’s just too bad the script bogs down the journey.  The story is a little predictable, and there’s sure no rush to get it out. The Ides of March is a cooker, sure. But it’s a slow cooker.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Arrmstrong is the longtime film reviewer for The Morning Star.

 

Just Posted

Vernon CMHA celebrates therapeutic power of art

The 16th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale runs until July 23

PHOTOS: Splatsin canoe family completes eight-day journey

Splatsin youth, workers were Paddling Together from Powell River to Gibsons Beach

Quality Greens purchase points keep food on the table

New partnership between Quality Greens, Upper Room Mission is helping those in need

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and cloud, chance of showers

Environment Canada is calling for a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

North Okanagan seeks provincial approval of bag ban

RDNO timeline to have ban in effect by 2020 may no longer be possible

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

Battle of blacksmiths returns to Okanagan vineyard

A battle of blacksmiths is returning for its second year in Lake Country

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Health: Living longer, a myth?

A new column to Black Press from CHIP HealthLine Solutions

Memorial plaques stolen from Okanagan cemetery

Four plaques were stolen from Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Kelowna

Sustainable farming summit coming to the Okanagan

Kelowna will soon host a summit on how the food industry can reduce its climate impact

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UBC Okanagan professor details wildfire risks

Associate professor David Scott provides details for the Okanagan’s wildfire season

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Most Read